Here is a broad “roadmap” of the range of spiritual levels, from “above to below.”
This involves some deeper spiritual topics which are discussed in Chassidic teachings.
It may seem like an abrupt introduction with several new terms and concepts. But if you study it carefully detail by detail during our courses, it should make sense as a logical process.
Here is an outline of progressive levels:
- G-d’s Essence
- The Infinite G-dly Light
- G-d’s Inner Thought to express a Divine attribute of Kindness through a Divine attribute of
Sovereignty over mankind in a physical world.
- The First “Tzimtzum“: G-d’s contraction and hiding of the Infinite Light from one “point,” leaving only a point of impression called
- The “Reshimu” (Point of Impression): This point is just an impression of the original Infinite G-dly Light. From this, G-d brings
- The “Kav“: A line of infinitely contracted and limited G-dly Light which contains the creative life force for all the subsequent worlds. Included within theKav are the Hidden Worlds (which exist from G-d’s Thought) and the Revealed Worlds (which exist from G-d’s Speech). The Hidden Worlds culminate in the realm of:
- “Kesser” (or “Keter,” meaning “Crown”): This transcendent level of G-dliness includes (a) G-d’s Delight (called Ta’anug, which is the higher, inner level withinKesser, which is referred to as the “Hidden Eden”), and (b) G-d’s Will (called Ratzon, the outer level within Kesser). This includes G-d’s delight in having a creation, which is the motivating factor for G-d’s will to create the four Revealed Worlds (described below), which only exist for the ultimate purpose of culminating in a lowest, physical realm for the existence of mankind who will keep G-d’s Commandments, which is G-d’s inner delight. This is the meaning of the kabbalistic statement that “the end is wedged in the beginning, and the beginning is wedged in the end.” Therefore, from the hidden world of Kesser, G-d reveals the world of:
- Atzilus (or Atzilut)– “Next to” [G-d]:
The highest spiritual created world] Atzilus is removed from any comparative terms to relate it to the lower three worlds. In general [spiritual] terms the Four Worlds parallel the four semi-spiritual fundaments, which are translated as “Fire,” “Air,” “Water,” and “Earth.” Atzilus would be parallel to the fundament of “Fire.” “Your G-d is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24), comparing G-d to fire. “Fire” has no connection with the other fundaments and has the tendency of constantly rising. Atzilus similarly has no common points with the lower worlds.
Atzilus is G-dhood, no less, having no aspect of independent existence [thinghood].
Atzilus is the realm in which G-d first emanates the Ten Divine Attributes (Sefiros) and “enclothes” Himself within them. The Ten Attributes are:
The 3 intellectual attributes: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding
The 6 emotional attributes: Loving-kindness, Judgment/Restraint, Beauty/Mercy, Eternity/Victory, Splendor/Humility, Foundation/Connection
The culminating (i.e. lowest) attribute: Sovereignty
These G-dly Attributes are not separate entities, but each one contains all of the others within it, which reflects the essential Unity of G-d. The intensity of revealed G-dliness in Atzilus is too intense for the possibility of the existence of angels. It is the realm of the souls of the perfectly righteous, through which life-force is channeled to the lower created worlds.
Within the lowest attribute, Sovereignity, of Atzilus, G-d contracts and hides its G-dly Light, and only an infinitely contracted line of its Light, in which the Divine Attributes of Atzilus are enclothed, continues on to become the Life Force for the world of: